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California Considers Police Surveillance Cameras on Freeways
Caltrans offers to convert California traffic monitoring cameras into a police surveillance network.

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California's transportation department, Caltrans, has announced interest in turning its network of four hundred freeway traffic monitoring cameras into a surveillance network for the police. Caltrans announced this possible change in policy after meeting with the California Highway Patrol to discuss a series of fatal freeway shootings.

Although police -- and the public -- have real-time access to the camera feed, the video is never recorded. The closed-circuit cameras were originally intended only for use by traffic management personnel so that they could verify reported accidents and dispatch help to motorists. "There are strict guidelines regarding the use and transmission of these pictures," the Caltrans website explains. "They are strictly for traffic management use only, not for law enforcement."

"If (the CHP) wants recorders on cameras, we can get recorders on cameras," Doug Failing, a regional director for Caltrans, told the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Article Excerpt:
Failing said Caltrans will also have to discuss privacy concerns with the CHP. He acknowledged that no privacy issues have been raised as a result of the use of cameras on toll roads in Orange County."They can zoom in and get license plates to send out tickets in the mail,' Failing said.
Source: CHP hopes they'll help (Long Beach, CA Press-Telegram, 4/28/2005)

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